The National Action Network's Women's Power Breakfast was marked as "a celebration of dynamic women who work tirelessly to pave the way for other women and shape our nation."
Johnson is also the executive director at the American Values Institute, a consortium of researchers, educators, and social-justice advocates working to combat societal prejudices. She was a Women of Power Award recipient at the National Action Network's 2014 convention Thursday in Times Square.
National Action Network is a civil rights organization founded in 1991 by the Rev. Al Sharpton. The group honored several women at the Women's Power Breakfast where New York City's first lady Chirlane McCray (wife of mayor Bill DeBlasio) delivered the keynote address.
During her acceptance speech, Johnson cited the outrage she felt over seeing the 2011 billboard. "When I saw that billboard, I felt like not only was it an assault on me and my sisters and my daughters and my girlfriends, I felt like it was a fight that was unbelievably familiar," Johnson said to a predominantly-African American and female audience.
"I started digging into what was happening to women around this country and I started hearing about what politicians in Texas and Ohio and North Carolina and Georgia were doing to roll back basic access to health care for our sisters, to deny basic access to contraception, to let their constituents suffer simply because they hated our president so much that they didn't want to expand Medicaid, to give them basic service."
Johnson, married with two daughters, continued, "It made me want to fight because I realized that this is the same strategy that brought us poll taxes and literacy tests 50 years ago."
"That is the kind of thing that makes me want to fight," she repeated, before going on to mention how the Supreme Court has "gut" key protections under the Voting Rights Act. "When I see our generation debate whether we should be leaning in or opting out without any understanding of the basic rights that undergird that, the right to control our bodies, the right to have a minimum wage, these are the things that make me want to fight."
Listen to an excerpt of Johnson's remarks during the Women's Power Breakfast in the audio player below:
Read more coverage on the National Action Network 2014 Convention:
- Chris Matthews Accuses Obama Opponents of 'Scorched Earth' Tactic; Predicts Clinton, Rand Paul Will Face Off in 2016
- Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Calls Out 'Unprecedented, Unwarranted, Ugly and Divisive Adversity' Faced by Him and President Obama
- New York City Mayor Remembers Hero Cop Dennis Guerra at Start of Al Sharpton's National Action Network Convention